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HQ 956184

May 12, 1994

CLA-2 CO:R:C:T 956184 BC


TARIFF NO.: 6307.90.9986

Nancy Coune'
Coune' Ltd.
1311 Yale Place
Minneapolis, MN 55403

RE: Classification of paperboard lidded boxes covered with textile materials; trinket boxes; decorative boxes

Dear Ms. Coune':

This responds to your letters dated February 9 and February 26, 1994, wherein you requested a binding classification ruling for textile covered trinket boxes. Your request was forwarded to this office for a response. We have reviewed the matter and our decision follows.


The merchandise at issue are lidded, square shaped decorative boxes, consisting of a paperboard frame covered with a cotton textile fabric described as "IKAT" cotton from Indonesia. The sample box you submitted measures 2 and 1/2 inches x 2 and 1/2 inches x 1 inch. The lid and bottom section are covered with the cotton fabric inside and out. The bottom interior of the box and the interior and exterior of the lid are cushioned with foam padding. The cotton fabric covering the bottom of the sample box and the interior of the lid is black, while the fabric covering the exterior of the lid evidences a multi-colored decorative pattern. You stated that the boxes come in various sizes (from 2 and 1/2 inches to 10 inches) and colors and will be sold at retail for ultimate use (by the consumer) as gifts, storage boxes, etc.


What is the proper classification for the textile covered decorative boxes at issue?


Classification under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is governed by the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI). GRI 1 provides that classification is determined in accordance with the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes. Where goods cannot be classified solely on the basis of GRI 1, the remaining rules will be applied in sequential order.

The Explanatory Notes (EN's) to the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System assist us in the classification of merchandise. The EN's constitute the official interpretation of the nomenclature at the international level. While not legally binding, they represent the considered views of classification experts of the Harmonized System Committee. It has been the practice of the Customs Service to follow, whenever possible, the terms of the EN's when interpreting the HTSUS. (See Treasury Decision (T.D.) 89-80, 23 Cust. Bull. 379 (1989), 54 Fed. Reg. 35,127 (August 23, 1989).)

The boxes at issue are known as trinket boxes. The classification of this kind of box is well established. The following Headquarters Ruling Letters (HRL's) have classified boxes substantially similar to the boxes at issue as other articles of textile materials under heading 6307, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States Annotated (HTSUSA): 872453, April 7, 1992; 876018, July 22, 1992; 952566, December 12, 1992; 953393, April 16, 1993; 953634, September 10, 1993; 955007, December 13, 1993; 955896, May 3, 1994; and 955913, May 3, 1994, to name a few. This abundance of precedent is relevant to the instant case.

In HRL 953393, cited above, we classified boxes substantially similar to the boxes at issue here as other made up textile articles under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, concluding that they were more like trinket boxes than jewelry boxes of heading 4202, HTSUSA. The lidded boxes there classified were constructed of cardboard and covered with textile material. They were in the shape of a pentagon and measured 2 and 1/2 inches wide by 1 and 3/4 inches in height. In that ruling, classification in heading 4202, HTSUSA, was ruled out since the boxes were not specially designed, shaped, or fitted to hold jewelry. Thus, we concluded that the boxes were not jewelry boxes of the ordinary kind, nor of the kind described in the following EN to heading 42.02:

The term "jewellery boxes" covers not only boxes specially designed for keeping jewellery [the ordinary kind], but also similar lidded containers of various dimensions (with or without hinges or fasteners) specially shaped or fitted to contain one or more pieces of jewellery and normally lined with textile material, of the type in which articles of jewellery are presented and sold and which are suitable for long term use.

In HRL 951028, dated March 3, 1993, we held that various boxes used in the retail sale of jewelry and similar items were jewelry boxes of the kind described in the above EN. The boxes there classified differ from the boxes classified in HRL 953393 (as well as from the boxes at issue here) because they were specially shaped or fitted to contain jewelry (containing inserts, slots, hooks, moldings, and the like) and they were in fact used in the presentation and/or sale of such items. The boxes in 953393 were not sold with jewelry, but were sold as boxes for various uses limited only by the imagination of the ultimate consumer and the physical dimensions of the box.

To reiterate, the boxes at issue are trinket boxes, not jewelry boxes of heading 4202, HTSUSA. Trinket boxes are not specially designed, shaped, or fitted for jewelry. They are not specially constructed to fit any particular item, but can be used to store various items including jewelry. The presence of foam padding in a trinket box does not, by itself, provide the requisite special design to qualify the box as a jewelry box of the kind set forth in the above EN. (In this regard, see HRL's 953634, 955007, 955896, and 955913, cited above.)

Since the boxes at issue are trinket boxes not classifiable as jewelry boxes under heading 4202, HTSUSA, they must be classified elsewhere. No other tariff provision provides explicitly for the boxes; therefore, they are classifiable by application of GRI 3, since GRI 2 directs that "goods consisting of more than one material or substance shall be classified according to the principles of rule 3." The primary materials present in the sample box are cardboard and cotton textile fabric. Under GRI 3(a), the following is provided:

The heading which provides the most specific description shall be preferred to headings providing a more general description. However, when two or more headings each refer to part only of the materials or substances contained in mixed or composite goods or to part only of the items in a set put up for retail sale, those headings are to be regarded as equally specific in relation to those goods, even if one of them gives a more complete or precise description of the goods.

The applicable headings are 4823, HTSUS, covering other articles of paperboard, and 6307, HTSUS, covering other articles of textile materials. Here, the applicable headings refer only to a part of the materials comprising the article. Therefore, they are considered to be equally specific, rendering classification on the basis of specificity (GRI 3(a)) inapplicable.

Under GRI 3(b), articles composed of two or more materials are classified according to essential character; that is, the article will be considered to consist of the material that imparts its essential character. Here, the paperboard provides the structure for the boxes, but the textile fabric provides aesthetic appeal and marketability (as decorative articles). We are unable to conclude that either component material imparts the essential character. Therefore, we must proceed to GRI 3(c).

Under GRI 3(c), the following is provided: "When goods cannot be classified by reference to 3(a) or 3(b), they shall be classified under the heading which occurs last in numerical order among those which equally merit consideration." Under this rule, the boxes at issue are classifiable under heading 6307, HTSUSA.


The subject paperboard boxes covered with cotton textile fabric are classifiable under subheading 6307.90.9986, HTSUSA, which provides for other made up textile articles, including dress patterns: other: other: other: other: other. The applicable rate of duty is 7% ad valorem.

Due to the changeable nature of the statistical annotation (the ninth and tenth digits of the classification) and the restraint (quota/visa) categories (concerning textile materials), you should contact the local Customs office prior to importing the merchandise to determine the current status of any import restraints or requirements.


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